People aspire to learn and educate themselves in all stages of life with many looking to earn a degree or deciding to continue their education.
However, being able to afford to study for a qualification from a reputable institution is not always easy or even possible for everyone.
This is where scholarships fill the need. Scholarships are designed to help people who meet certain criteria to attend college or university and work towards their degree. It is important though to realize that scholarships are not available to everyone and you need to know how to find the right scholarships and avoid those that are fraudulent.
Let’s start with a basic fact – there is no such thing as a guaranteed scholarship. As more people have searched for scholarships to pursue their education, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of seemingly genuine, but essentially fraudulent, schemes that you need to avoid. By using these following tips you will understand how to find the right scholarships by identifying and avoiding scholarship schemes that are not what they appear to be:
“Last Date to Apply” or “No date to reply”
Scholarships schemes or bulletin boards that highlight that the last date to apply is within the next day or two but do not inform the date by when the results will be declared should be treated with extreme caution. This partial disclosure will often be accompanied by a request for you to pay a nominal application fee and will never inform the level of scholarship that an applicant could win.
Personal Security and Credit Information
There may be occasions when a letter or email will be received by a prospective or an existing student informing them that they have been short-listed for a scholarship or grant. In these cases, the letter or email will also state that further processing of the scholarship or grant can be guaranteed only when you send personal details such as your bank account number, statement of account, social security details, etc. As scholarships require pre-work from the applicant any request for personal information upfront is a sure give away that this is a scam and should be avoided.
Envelopes and seals of the agency that is offering you information about their scholarship programs carry authentic-sounding names like “Federal”, “National”, “fund”, “State”, etc. and these will also be branded with convincing logos and stationery. Whilst the first impressions created can be persuasive and the information provided might seem genuine it will almost certainly state that to claim your scholarship you need to first pay an advance cheque for taxes. Avoid such demands altogether as you will never hear from them again after you’ve paid up.
Addresses and mailboxes
Check the addresses on all unsolicited mail. Are they genuine? Is this a registered company? Are they operating from valid commercial districts? In the case of emails, check to see if the address given is real – it probably won’t be. More often than not these schemes request that you send either money or information, or both, to win a scholarship, which would never be the case.
If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of a scholarship offer, be aware that a scholarship has to be applied for and asked for. There are certain conditions and guidelines for granting a scholarship and more often than not scholarships are awarded on grounds of merit. You should therefore be prepared to write an essay and complete other academic information that they request, but only after you have initiated contact with them.
Scholarships are meant for genuine hard-working students who need financial assistance to pursue their qualifications. Once you know how to avoid fraudulent scholarship schemes you will be in a much better position to find the right scholarships that are available to help you with your studies.
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